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Apr 27, 2023 - 8:57:42 AM
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4336 posts since 12/3/2008

The Banjo Bolster was invented by husband and wife team - Ric and Deb Hollander.

The Banjo Bolster is the fastest, most efficient and user-friendly approach I've ever come across to revive and beautify the sound of banjos; to fine-tune and enhance their expressive qualities. On several banjos with which I’ve tried it, the Banjo Bolster acts as a unique kind of acoustic equalizer and compressor - balancing the entire tonal range and refining the articulation of each instrument. 

I asked Ric: How does the Banjo Bolster work, and how has your background in audio acoustics contributed to this marvelous acoustic enhancer?  

Ric wrote:

“Over the years I've experimented with a variety of techniques to improve the acoustics of my studio environments. It comes down to finding the right mix between reflective and sound absorbent surfaces. I've learned, through lots of research and hands-on trial and error, that the smaller the room the less reflective surfaces you want, especially if the goal is to ‘remove’ the room from the recordings. The fundamental sound generated from the instruments is not only the thing picked up by the microphones, especially high-quality condenser mics. They also capture reflected sound that is bouncing from wall to wall and from ceiling to floor, etc. We perceive this reflected sound as slap-back reverb/echo. Another phenomenon occurs, especially in the low/mid frequencies, where reflected sounds bouncing off opposite surfaces intersect each other and combine, boosting the volume of the low mids. This is perceived as muddiness or boominess. The combination of slap-back reverb and standing waves is often referred to as overtones.” 

“My approach to taming overtones in my banjos was to treat the banjo's tone chamber (pot) as an acoustic space that suffers from the same challenges faced in small recording environments. The Banjo Bolster adds a sound absorbent layer to the banjo pot that specifically targets undesirable reflected sound, while preserving the full power and frequency response of the instrument.”

My next questions to Ric will be about how his background as a musician, composer, and acoustic guitar builder has influenced the evolution of the Banjo Bolster. (Stay tuned!)

I’ve used Ric and Deb Hollander’s Banjo Bolster in each of my seven openbacks: scooped-neck clawhammers, tenors, cellos. I’ve been doing a round robin with the one I have, and I’m eager to have a Banjo Bolster to take up permanent residence in all of them, since they all display a strong affinity to it. It doesn’t act like a mute, of any kind. It acts as a tonal enhancer, refining the sound. It’s not something I would feel the need to take in and out (although I easily could), and adjusting the spectrum of tonal refinement is easy, intuitive, and effortlessly accessible. 

I love the way I can use the Banjo Bolster to control my banjos’ natural reverb, which on some of my instruments, overwhelms the fundamental tone, making it sound muddy and out of tune. The Banjo Bolster lets me easily control the reverberations, while maintaining the instrument's rich and resonant qualities. The improvement in tone is quite dramatic!

Some of my banjos have inconsistencies in volume from string to string. I've tried all kinds of stuffing, but it didn't help. The Banjo Bolster completely balances my string-to-string volume, much like a compressor used in audio recording, allowing me to dial-in the exact sound I want.

You ought to hear how this kitten can make your banjo purr, while preserving its full volume and tonal range. For such a reasonable price, Ric and Deb Hollander’s Banjo Bolster is a no-brainer. I love where the Banjo Bolster is taking my music. It's become easier for me to get lost in my music, inspiring my playing to take on deeper levels of tonal nuance.

Edited by - Paul Roberts on 04/27/2023 09:27:00

Apr 27, 2023 - 8:37:39 PM
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7046 posts since 6/27/2009

I can attest to the tonal improvement, too, Paul, though not as eloquently as you nor as scientifically as Ric.  When I tried a Banjo Bolster on my Gold Tone cello banjo I sent Ric comparison videos with and without, which he then did a wave analysis upon and showed me through visual magic the differences between them.  I could hear them and understand what I hear better than the wave analysis, but that's okay.  

Let's just say I've tried many ways to stuff things behind my banjo head on several banjos (including a stuffed animal, foam and sheepskin), but this soft device Ric and Deb developed is the best yet.  Ric demos on video different permutations for placing the Bolster.  I found one on my own inside the head of my Doc's Banjo, which has a truss rod so far from the head that it would need a real custom fitting.  But I shaped the Bolster into a V-shape and it stays there and I'm liking the tone.

It's a simple and lightweight thing, like a tubular pillow and its circular ends have the product's name --  nice sewing job, Deb!  Ric is an amazing musician and I look forward to hearing more of his music.  The same is felt about your music, Paul.  Thanks for this post and I hope others give the Banjo Bolster a try if they're looking to improve tone, eliminate overtones, and want an opportunity to do some easy experiments on their banjos.  

Edited by - JanetB on 04/27/2023 20:41:06

Apr 28, 2023 - 12:18:43 AM
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7 posts since 12/16/2009

I've been using the Banjo Bolster in my my 1920s Whyte Laydie since the prototype days. I play gigs in all sorts of environments from coffeehouses and libraries to 300-year-old churches and outdoor festivals, and each venue has unique acoustic properties. The bolster is easily adjustable and is enormously helpful in optimizing my banjo's tonal quality in each situation.

Over the years I've tried stuffing the back with foam, washcloths, kitchen towels, and even a sponge, but they produce an unpleasant muted sound -- it's like listening to the banjo with earmuffs on. Those days are over! The Banjo Bolster never hides the true sound of your instrument; it just enhances it.

I highly recommend the Banjo Bolster. Ric and Deb Hollander approach all their projects with precision and artistry, and the bolster is a fine example of that.

Apr 28, 2023 - 6:16:24 AM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Paul, Janet & Maria,

So glad to hear you are all enjoying your Banjo Bolsters!

Paul - Wow, what an amazing thread!!!  Thank you so much for taking the time to write this and for providing such wonderful details about your experience with your Banjo Bolster.  Your enthusiasm is contagious! Deb & I really appreciate your kind words. 

Can I use what you said as a testimonial on

Check out Paul's website -!!!

Janet - Lovely performance! The Banjo Bolster brings out your Cello Banjo's full potential, but it is your sensitive touch that makes it shine! Love it! yes Check out Janet's amazing website with tons of old-time tabs and MP3s.  An incredible recourse!

Maria - I'm sure your pantry and linen closets are finally appropriately stocked with sponges, towels, washcloths, etc. since you no longer need to commandeer them for your banjo! wink Your Whyte Laydie sounds amazing as does your expert playing! 

If you haven't heard Maria, you should definitely check out her site, Facebook and YouTube pages!

If you are curious about trying a Banjo Bolster, please head over to We have Before/After audio examples as well as videos showing how to configure the Banjo Bolster for optimum tone.

We are so confident you're going to love using a Banjo Bolster, that we offer a No Hassle Return Policy. If you are not completely delighted with your purchase, you can send it back for a refund.


Ric & Deb

Edited by - Frailblazer on 04/28/2023 06:18:56

Apr 28, 2023 - 5:26:03 PM
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35 posts since 10/4/2004

I just wanted to jump in here, and echo what everyone else has said. I love how the banjo bolster retains clarity of tone without muting it. I too have experimented with a lot of different things in the back of my banjo, and while some did help, they all muddied the tone. You can also easily play around with how the bolster is placed and hear differences in the sound produced. Mine just lives in my banjo full-time now. Highly recommended.

May 1, 2023 - 12:07:54 PM
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5299 posts since 1/16/2010

I received a Banjo Bolster a few weeks ago from Ric and Deb Hollander, the folks who first developed it for Ric’s banjo, and now make and sell them through their new website, whose web address appears somewhere higher up in this thread. I completely concur with all that has been said in this thread above, and add here the tale of my own experiences with the device so far:

I tend to be a sucker for every new banjo device I hear about, most of which don’t turn out to be nearly as good or useful as I thought they would be, and I find myself unable to use them and simply abandon them. But my experience with trying out the Banjo Bolster was pretty much the exact opposite of that scenario.

When I first heard about the Banjo Bolster, I have to admit that I was a complete skeptic. I couldn’t really see much point to it. Having been a banjo player for over a half century now, I was secure in the idea that the various different-sized blocks of foam rubber that I’d been using practically since I started playing were perfect for me - and were all I would ever want to use. After all, I had done plenty of my own experimenting with them when I was younger to perfect them to my taste. There was a learning curve back then, of course, but eventually I learned exactly how, when, and where to use them to get my banjos to sound just the way I wanted them to.

Thus, being an old guy who thinks he knows everything by now, I was almost certain that if I tried a Banjo Bolster, I was quite unlikely to be impressed. But at least I was open-minded enough to give it a chance to see if I might possibly be wrong, though I was not expecting to be surprised. Yet, surprised I was, indeed!

When it came time to test-drive one, I realized that I had to specify one banjo to use it with and provide certain measurements to have it custom fitted. So, I chose my 1927 Whyte Laydie (conversion from a tenor by the late Mike Ramsay) because it seemed to have a problem with pronounced unwanted overtones from the time I got it, and it had taken considerable experimentation on my part at that time to fashion and position just the right size and shape of foam block to tame them and get a sound I really like. Also, I have several other 11” pot banjos with nearly identical dimensions, so I figured it would fit those as well.

I do have other banjos that have 10”, 12” and 13” pots, but only one of each size, so I figured those would just “lay by the wayside. during this checking it out process. But, as chance would have it, I was playing my 13” Goat-skinned headed Romero at the very moment the Banjo Bolster arrived in my mailbox. This particular banjo seems to have developed some unwanted overtones during a long stretch of being not played at all during the pandemic. It’s now actually in the hands of a luthier being adjusted and newly set up, but at that time it had taken considerable experimentation by me to figure out how to diminish those overtones with a small block of strategically placed foam.

So, having the Banjo Bolster in my hands for the first time, and being curious, I extracted that block of foam from the Romero, and plunked the Banjo Bolster into it, though expecting that it probably wouldn’t work, not being the right size for a proper fit. But, in fact it did work - really quite well!

Then I tried the Banjo Bolster out in various positions inside that huge head and found that each different place I put it seemed to tame the overtones, while producing banjo sound with different tonalities, depending on where I positioned it. I was starting already to be impressed by just how easy the device was to use, and what variety of tonal characteristics it was opening up for me, that were quickly, almost effortlessly, achievable.

After a while, when I finally got out the Whyte Laydie to try the device inside its pot, the experience repeated itself exactly - except, this time, being custom fitted for the size of pot, it was even easier to position, and would stay more securely and perfectly in whatever places I put it.

This time I also experimented with positioning that varied between having the Banjo Bolster not touching the head at all, to applying very light pressure on the head, and finally, to making full contact with the head. In every case, it tamed the unwanted overtones, and varied from no muting of volume, through slight muting, to a similar level of full muting that I would get with a block of foam firmly wedged between the head and the dowel stick running the full length of the head.

Each of these sounds has its own application and use, and I was much impressed at the absolute simplicity there was in changing between them - a big plus when performing for an audience!

But the real clincher for me was that over the next several days, I was working intensively on writing and arranging a song, spending hours every day trying out different ideas, playing the banjo a lot. At a certain point I realized that I had forgotten completely for days that the Banjo Bolster was in there all that time without me realizing it.

It just sounded really good. There were no extraneous unwanted sounds to distract me from what I was doing, or even make me think about the sound. Yet, I had been definitely listening closely all that time because I was critically examining and constantly reworking and refining what I was playing.

That realization that banjo with the banjo Bolster inside it just sounded so really good and natural, while being such an intuitively easy device to use, has me sold. Now I want one for every banjo (though I’ll probably settle for one for each different pot size that I have, rather than each individual instrument).

I think this is one of the best innovations in banjo related technology to come along in a long time. Like the scoop at the high end of the neck that makes it easier to play directly over the neck and take advantage of the unique tonal qualities there, or Nylgut strings that allow you to get the tone and warmth of the banjo’s original gut strings without the hassles of actual gut, the Banjo Bolster makes it easier to get your banjo to sound its best, with the added versatility of easy re-positioning to find just the right sound for you.

I’m considering making a video, fairly soon, demonstrating some of the different tonalities easily available to me with this clever device. If and when I do, I’ll be sure to post it here.

Cheers to all!

May 2, 2023 - 2:02:02 PM
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4336 posts since 12/3/2008

Ric Hollander is among that colorful cadre of banjoists who reside on the cutting edge of creative artistic expression. Ric pulls out some of the most gorgeous tones from of a 5-string banjo, that I've ever heard. Ric came to the banjo from a strong background in compositional guitar. This has clearly contributed to the intriguing music he now cultivates on banjo. The sounds he's getting on his openback and cello banjos are simply exquisite. Ric's mellifluous playing skills remind me of a classical guitarist - especially his original fingerstyle pieces. The huge lute-like tones he's getting on his recordings - both his original pieces and traditional clawhammer tunes - are highly pleasing to the human ear, and I'd wager that our neighbors in the animal kingdom would be very appreciative as well. Each of Ric's recordings reveals a true artist, constantly at work honing his wonderfully fresh perspective on banjo music.

Ric, How has your musical experiences influenced the creation of the Banjo Bolster?
"I love it when I’m playing one my instruments and I get completely lost in the experience. The sound is pleasing, the technique is down and I’m not thinking about playing, it just happens. It’s almost like I’m listening to someone else’s performance. In the past I would experience that less frequently on the banjo because I found myself getting distracted by things I was hearing that I didn’t care for, with overtones at the top of the list.  If you’re a banjo player there’s a really good chance that you’re a tinkerer! It’s so tempting to experiment with the banjo’s tone and so many options to try. Like most every openback banjo player, I’ve tried all the standard stuffing methods. They do work but at a cost. I liked the way they control the overtones but couldn’t stand the loss of volume, bass and treble frequencies. I was on a mission to find a solution that did not need to make contact with the banjo head. A solution that would allow the player easily bring out the banjo’s full potential and dial in their own, unique tone. One day it dawned on me! Treat the banjo’s tone chamber (the pot) as a small acoustic space that is adversely affected by slap-back reverb/echo and standing waves, just like the small spare bedroom I record in. The trick was to add a sound absorbent layer to the pot to specifically target reflected sound. After a year of prototypes and experimentation the Banjo Bolster was born!"

May 3, 2023 - 5:26:07 AM
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5 posts since 5/2/2023

Ric and I would like to personally thank everyone who has ordered a Banjo Bolster and a special shout out to those who are already repeat customers, WOW!! We really appreciate your interest in our product and we know you will be absolutely delighted with it.

We did not anticipate such an overwhelming response so early on after just opening our online store. Please sit tight as we work through the orders. Rest assured, we will make them as quickly as possible, while maintaining the highest quality and attention to every detail. Thank you all so much for the support you have shown to a real "Mom & Pop" small business. It is truly appreciated!

- Deb

May 8, 2023 - 9:26:03 AM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

*** UPDATE as of 5-8-23 ***

We have been working round the clock to make and ship your orders. All orders placed on May 3rd or earlier have been shipped or will ship today. Thank you all for your patience as we continue to process through them. Our first shipment to Switzerland is on its way!

I've started reaching out to many of you to follow up on your order and see how you are enjoying your Banjo Bolster. My plan is to contact everyone. I'm happy to report that we have received 100% positive feedback!!! Thanks for taking my call and for sharing your experiences with me.

A very special thank you to everyone who sent us testimonials! You guys/gals are the best!!!  I just updated our testimonials page this morning to include your feedback.

Have a great day everyone!


May 8, 2023 - 12:47:55 PM
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376 posts since 6/15/2006

When you look at the BB, you can almost see, that it will work and work fine. I think the philosophy is to prevent the skin from moving on its own resonance frequence (and its overtones) which can interfere with the signals from the strings. We only want the clean signals from the strings and nothing more, so we need a shock absorber - normally a sock or some foam rubber between the rod and the skin. But with the BB half of the skin edge is not affected, and THE MIDDLE OF THE SKIN WHERE THE BIGGEST MOVEMENTS ARE neither, as it is also the case with a sponge close to the neck, but the BB covers a bigger area than a sock or sponge, so it must have a good effect. I like that the damping is round along (half of) the edge, but we should not close the door for other solutions, for we have heard absolutely magic sounds from banjos also without the BB., and you can stuff your banjo in various ways.
But I am impressed too. Steen

P.S. Could it also be for bluegrassers?

Edited by - steen on 05/08/2023 12:52:01

May 8, 2023 - 1:36:55 PM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Hi steen,

I want to clarify a few things in regards to how the Banjo Bolster works. Unlike conventional stuffing, it does a fantastic job of removing overtones without having to make any contact with the head at all. Or, based on how it is configured by the player, it can optionally make gentle contact on one or both of the ends, or the middle can touch the head while the ends do not. There are a variety of ways to achieve the desired tone.

The huge difference with the Banjo Bolster is that there will be virtually no loss in volume or frequency response. Your banjo will still be loud, the low end will not loose its growl and the highs will still sparkle. The opposite is unfortunately true for conventional stuffing, i.e. there is a noticeable loss in power/volume and the tonal spectrum tends to get overly compressed (less lows and highs).

The Banjo Bolster works by adding a sound absorbent surface to the inside of the banjo pot that specifically targets and dissipates undesirable reflected sound (i.e. overtones, standing waves, etc.). The net result is the banjo's full sonic potential is realized and it will sound more "in tune" as well.

If you have a moment, please take a look at the videos on this page of our site. I demonstrate the most common configuration options and discuss the benefits of each approach.

With regard to using the Banjo Bolster in a bluegrass banjo... You can absolutely use it inside any resonator banjo and will do a great job. However, we are working on a version of the Banjo Bolster that will be optimized for bluegrass banjos. It will add a layer of "sweetness" to the tone, attenuate overtones all while maintaining the banjo's grit and power, i.e. sweet but not too sweet! It will not make any contact the head! We are in the prototype stage at the moment and are getting exciting results. Stay tuned!


May 9, 2023 - 9:25:37 AM
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1057 posts since 3/23/2006

I ordered one for my favorite 11" banjo and I was astonished that it actually worked just as Ric described -- much better than the sheepskin that I had settled on after trying many ways to control overtones. It really has removed the overtones while maintaining the volume and sparkle. I have recently been playing in jams with 3 or 4 fiddlers, and for the sake of volume I started bring a 12" with a Renaissance head. I was actually thinking of changing my 11" from the Fyberskin head to a Renaissance one for more volume. But now I don't think that I'll have to do it. As Marc Nerenberg said, it's rare to find a new banjo device that turns out to be a keeper -- Banjo Bolster is a happy exception. I'm going to measure my 12" banjos and place another order.

May 10, 2023 - 1:33:38 PM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Unbelievable! We've gone through 3 spools of thread filling your Banjo Bolster Orders!  That's 1,476 feet of thread.  Deb's been busy!!!  Don't worry, we have plenty more spools on hand.

Edited by - Frailblazer on 05/10/2023 13:35:30

May 11, 2023 - 12:03:27 AM
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29 posts since 5/28/2010

I posted this on another thread, but it makes more sense here:

+1 on the Banjo Bolster.

Banjo players are inveterate tinkerers, and I include myself in that group. I've tried dozens of different dampening materials throughout my years of play, including foam, sponge, rags, rubber, cork, mousepad material, a stuffed Very Hungry Caterpillar, etc., ad nauseum.

All of them did something to the tone, sometimes something good, sometimes not so good.

I recently read about the BB here and, and though skeptical, decided to give it a try.

I've been using it for five days now (on my 12" Ouren openback banjo w/ Dobson tone-ring) and I'm a believer.

It installs in seconds and offers a range of sound options, depending on where and how you lay the thing in. The best thing is it doesn't kill the tone. My banjo is still lively, with plenty of thump, but it sounds significantly better (punchier maybe?) with the BB than without it, and sounds better than anything else I've tried.

I know this must sound like I'm in the employ of the Banjo Bolster Conglomerate, but I'm just a pest like the rest of us. Before this thread I had never heard of Ric Hollander.

One caveat: I wish the BB was a little cheaper, because now I want one for my Rickard and Wildwood openbacks as well.

Thanks Ric!

Glenn Jones
Cambridge, MA

Edited by - wileypickett on 05/11/2023 00:04:56

May 11, 2023 - 5:18:30 AM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Thanks for the feedback Glenn! Great to hear you are enjoying your Banjo Bolster!!!

I wanted to let you know that we have a special promotion going on right now. When you purchase 3 Banjo Bolsters in one order the shipping is on us!

As a special thank you to all our early adopters - as soon as you purchase your third Banjo Bolster we will credit back the shipping cost on the last order placed. Please note that this promotion only applies to orders with a US ship to address.

- Ric

May 11, 2023 - 7:51:38 PM
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4336 posts since 12/3/2008

Colorful Sounds Light Up My Imagination

I've got the Banjo Bolsters set up exactly the way I want in each of my banjos. Now all I have to do is pick them up and play! What fun!

May 14, 2023 - 1:34:02 PM

376 posts since 6/15/2006

Hi Ric. You actually had written that the BB did not have to be in contact with the skin. Sorry I had missed it. Many of us have theories and beliefs, and one of mine has always been that the reflections inside the banjo are adding power to the sound, and I still believe that, but it is obvious not the whole truth about it. Some rooms can have acoustic conditions that are so bad that that they almost can not be used for teaching, but sometimes five ore six sound absorbers on the walls can
heal them and make them exellent. I have experienced that more than once in my years as a teacher. I was at that time very interested in room acoustics, because it means a lot both for the teacher and the kids, and this fact is too often ignored. But The BB has given me something to think about. It is true that a banjo can be stuffed so hard that it eats too much of the sound, but as far as I know, it has not been a problem for me :). But I haven´t tried The BB, so -. Thanks for your response. Steen

May 14, 2023 - 2:22:31 PM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Hi Steen,

We have a 100% satisfaction guarantee and offer a no hassle return policy. Give one a try!


May 16, 2023 - 6:36:26 AM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Hello everyone!

Deb and I just realized that today is the two month anniversary of the launch of! Thanks to all of you, the response has been incredible!

As a special thank you, we are now running a sale through the end of May.  Use code OurSecondMonth15 at checkout and get 15% off your order!

Thanks again for your continued support, Deb and I really appreciate it!

- Ric

May 17, 2023 - 10:37:30 AM
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4336 posts since 12/3/2008

There’s gotta be some kind of fairy dust in these bolsters. The Banjo Bolster transforms, revitalizes and enhances the tone colors of all my banjos: 5-strings, tenors, and cellos. I wish I had been able to use these magical bolsters during my previous sixty years, but I’m very grateful to now be experiencing such a blossoming of tone colors issuing forth from each of my banjos.

May 17, 2023 - 10:47:41 AM
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7750 posts since 9/21/2007
Online Now

I'd be interested in reading the patent application to see what exactly is being claimed.

Is it a design patent for the shape and size? Or is it a function patent for the concept of putting something soft inside a banjo?

May 17, 2023 - 12:00:45 PM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Just had an AWESOME conversation with Joel. Super knowledgeable guy. If you have never tried his Banjo Thimble you should definitely check it out! (

In case anyone is interested, we have applied for a full Utility patent (not a Design patent) for the Banjo Bolster and currently hold provisional patent status.

May 19, 2023 - 6:56:02 AM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Cool new Banjo Bolster swag  - coming soon!

Banjo Bolster Hat - Front

Banjo Bolster Hat - Back

- Ric
Don't Stuff It, BOLSTER IT with the Banjo Bolster!

May 22, 2023 - 8:13:19 AM
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4336 posts since 12/3/2008

Originally posted by StitchBlazer

Ric and I would like to personally thank everyone who has ordered a Banjo Bolster and a special shout out to those who are already repeat customers, WOW!! We really appreciate your interest in our product and we know you will be absolutely delighted with it.

We did not anticipate such an overwhelming response so early on after just opening our online store. Please sit tight as we work through the orders. Rest assured, we will make them as quickly as possible, while maintaining the highest quality and attention to every detail. Thank you all so much for the support you have shown to a real "Mom & Pop" small business. It is truly appreciated!

- Deb

Hi Deb_ I'm a big fan of the Banjo Bolster. I have them in all my banjos and they are dramatically optimizing the tone of each instrument. I'm delighted that your handiwork is catching on so quickly and that you're getting such an enthusiastic response! Please tell us something about your background as a seamstress; how your experience has contributed to the development of the design of the Banjo Bolster; and the process you and Ric have gone through to create it. 

May 22, 2023 - 11:27:20 AM
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5 posts since 5/2/2023

- From Paul Roberts:
"Hi Deb_ I'm a big fan of the Banjo Bolster. I have them in all my banjos and they are dramatically optimizing the tone of each instrument. I'm delighted that your handiwork is catching on so quickly and that you're getting such an enthusiastic response! Please tell us something about your background as a seamstress; how your experience has contributed to the development of the design of the Banjo Bolster; and the process you and Ric have gone through to create it." 

Hi Paul, thanks for your support of the Banjo Bolster and for your questions!

I’ve been sewing for about 20 years using a pretty basic sewing machine that got the job done, but I felt it was holding me back.Two years ago I acquired an amazing, high end sewing machine that can do EVERYTHING (sewing, quilting, embroidery, embroidery design and more). It’s a wonderful creative catalyst and I learn something new about it every time I sew. When not sewing, I’m usually doing macrame, knitting or crocheting. Like Ric, I apparently need to play with strings! ;-)

Ric described his idea for the Banjo Bolster to me as a sound absorbent cylinder that would sit inside the banjo rim and work much like the acoustic baffles he has on the walls and ceiling of his recording studio. I immediately thought - BOLSTER PILLOW! So I made our first prototype, which fit one of his banjos nicely, but we soon realized the diameter was a bit too large for other banjos. Several versions later we came up with the perfect size! 

Now the question was, how to sew on the ends in such a tiny space, it’s a finicky thing!  Even though the design is inspired by a conventional bolster pillow, the ends required a specialized approach because of their small size. After lots of trial and error (and colorful language) I developed a process that works like a charm!

With that settled - what fabric would be best, both acoustically and structurally? We tried many different types and documented the results as we went. We found that cotton poplin not only sounded best (yes, different fabrics affect the sound) but it holds its shape beautifully when placed inside the banjo.

With the shape and construction process solved, I began exploring a variety of materials to fill the bolster. It was fascinating to hear the acoustic differences between them. The materials also had an impact on the Banjo Bolster’s adjustability and how well it would hold its shape once positioned.  After a deep dive exploration we found that polyester fibers were the perfect fill!

Ric designed the beautiful sound wave pattern for the fabric which we have custom made for us by a company right here in the US, using 100% USA materials!    

It’s been an interesting journey to get here. It seems like I’ve sewn, knitted and knotted a museum’s worth of prototypes, LOL! It truly was a eureka moment when Ric put the first Banjo Bolster prototype into one of his instruments. I think my jaw about hit the floor. It just sounded INCREDIBLE!

To everyone waiting for their Banjo Bolster - I’m working through your orders as fast as possible while maintaining the utmost quality (I’m a perfectionist, sorry). Please keep a lookout for an email when your Banjo Bolster ships. It is truly my pleasure to make them for you!

- Deb
Don't Stuff It, BOLSTER IT!

May 25, 2023 - 4:10:46 PM
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751 posts since 6/11/2008

Banjo Bolster Orders Ready for Shipment Tomorrow Morning! 

Tomorrow's Banjo Bolster Shipments

Edited by - Frailblazer on 05/25/2023 16:11:24

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